Jack White used to get in trouble at his upholstery business (yes, the same Jack White) for writing poetry inside restored furniture. Hannah Marshall, the new Brit design star whose style looks like Balmain plus GaGa plus floods of black dye, has a similar habit of leaving messages in her work: She puts Braille codes into each collection.
Like White, Marshall follows a specific dress code and lives outside her country’s creative hub (hello, Colchester, England!). Are there any more signs we have fashion’s next rock star on our hands?You’ve had a pretty quick rise to recognition after launching your “Quiet Noise” collection in February ‘07. Does that surprise you?
It seems like yesterday when I launched the first collection, standing at my exhibition with my collection of 12 black dresses. The response has been amazing. I am so grateful for all the support. Was there a moment when you thought, “Oh my god, I’ve really done something”?
When Erin O’Connor put my trapeze dress into the “Little Black Dress” exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London. Your clothes are all about power and architecture, but then you add in really delicate details like Braille. How’d you come up with that?
I try to create a unique aesthetic – something that’s visually and tactually beautiful, something meaningful. It’s quite personal to the wearer, which makes it a more intimate experience. You started out at Jonathan Saunders. Did you like using so much color?
My experience there definitely took me into a very colorful world, but my aesthetic is quite different. I like to avoid color most of the time. I opt for a darker palette that’s more about the silhouette and the contrast of luxury fabrics. Who, in fashion or music, best represents your aesthetic?
I love Grace Jones for her sensual androgyny, or the energy and edginess of Skin (Skunk Anansie). I love Alison Mosshart’s cool façade. Florence Welch (of Florence & The Machine) has been wearing a lot of my stuff lately; she has an amazing energy onstage and really makes each outfit come alive. What’s on your iPod in the studio?
Grace Jones, Dead Weather, Florence & The Machine, Skunk Anansie, Gossip, Ipso Facto, Roisin Murphy, The Kills, Prince, Nirvana, Iggy Pop, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and lots more. You wear a lot of black. When did that become your signature?
I wear black pretty much every day and have done for awhile now. My closet looks like a sea of black clothes. Would you ever move to London from Colchester?
I love London – the energy, the people, the places – and that’s where my studio is that I work from in the week. It’s right near many of my suppliers and my factories. But I’m based in the Essex countryside, and it’s very quiet and peaceful there. I sometimes need the headspace outside the busyness of the city. I think this is where I’ll stay for now, but never say never. Name your favorite places to…Vacation:
the White Sands Resort in the MaldivesEat:
at home with a bottle of wineShop:
vintage stores and Opening Ceremony in New YorkHave a lazy Sunday:
Dedham in Essex or for a weekend away I love staying at the Manor House at Castle Combe [Wiltshire, UK]. It’s the most beautiful place set in acres upon acres of land.
--JILL HILBRENNERCheck out Hannah's website.We also like Digitaria in LondonAnd Gaga's costume creator, Alex Noble!